The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts was joined by nearly 75 stakeholders at its 22nd annual meeting June 13 to celebrate the impact of philanthropy in the region over the past year in the foundation’s focus areas of arts and culture, community and workforce development, education, the environment, and health and human services.
Guest speaker Anita Walker, executive director of the Mass Cultural Council, described how arts and culture can play a key role for cities working to re-invigorate themselves, and called New Bedford a “poster child” for others that are looking at how arts and culture can make their communities better places to live and work.
Before AHA! was launched 19 years ago, downtown New Bedford wasn’t a place people went after 5 p.m., she said. But cultural organizations and businesses came together, developed the monthly arts and culture nights downtown, and “gave it the best name ever.”
Walker’s remarks come at an important time for the region as the Community Foundation has launched its Arts, Culture, & Creativity Initiative this summer in Fall River and New Bedford, according to a news release. The ACCI, a partnership with the Boston-based Barr Foundation, seeks to collaboratively determine What’s Next? in each city to promote and sustain the arts and the creative economy. A series of community conversations is ongoing. More details can be found at www.cfsema.org.
The Community Foundation also elected two new board members and recognized the volunteer service of several others, who have served on the board from four to 22 years.
Nick Christ, president & CEO of BayCoast Bank, and Lou Sousa, chief investment officer for Plimoth Investment Advisors, were elected to the board.
Elected as officers were: Seth Garfield, Chair; Linda Bodenmann, Vice Chair; Dana Norman, CPA; Carl Cruz, Clerk; Edward Siegal, CPA, Immediate Past Chair.
In recognizing the contributions of outgoing board members, Chair Seth Garfield lauded the board members for being “difference-makers,” adding that “although their service on the board may be ending, they all continue to play a critically important role in helping the foundation meet its mission in our community.”
Other 2016 highlights reported at the meeting include:
• Treasurer Mary Louise Nunes, CPA, summarized the foundation’s financial highlights from 2016. Total public support was $2,735,942 which includes net income from special events, while revenues totaled $5,164,777. The Community Foundation ended the year with $32,662,363 in total assets, an increase of more than 1.1 million dollars over the prior year. This is primarily the result of strong investment returns, which totaled 8.7 % in 2016.
• Garfield reported that the Community Foundation added seven new funds and awarded $2,332,300 in grants and scholarships to 355 organizations and 128 high school and college students.
• The past year also saw the foundation re-accredited by the Council on Foundations' National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, Garfield announced. This accreditation represents an affirmation of the operational effectiveness needed to foster excellence in community philanthropy.
• Under the leadership of John Vasconcellos, the foundation also invested in the development of its professional staff team to best meet its needs moving forward.
• Vasconcellos also said the foundation has partnered with seven other organizations in the rebirth of the New Bedford Lyceum, a centuries-old New Bedford tradition of learning through intellectual debate. In its first event, the newly revived Lyceum brought Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Bob Woodward to the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on April 1 to give a talk on "The Age of The American Presidency."
Dartmouth man named development director
Dartmouth resident Ethan Kehoe was recently appointed the foundation's first director of development.
“The foundation is so pleased to have Ethan on board as we build upon our efforts to become an exceptional philanthropic resource for our partners who serve the needs in our community,” Vasconcellos said.
“Adding someone with Ethan’s depth of experience in philanthropy, together with his outstanding track record of successful fundraising and nonprofit leadership positions, will allow the Foundation to focus on growth and creating local impact.”
Kehoe was chosen from a pool of more than 30 highly qualified applicants, and he advanced to the post through a comprehensive, multi-stage interview process involving foundation staff and members of its board, according to a release.
Kehoe completes a full circle in his career as he began working in the nonprofit community as youth and community director for the New Bedford YMCA in the late 1990s. Most recently, Kehoe was director of development at Saint Patrick Academy in Providence, as well as a capital campaign consultant at Nativity Preparatory School of New Bedford.
Prior to that, he spent a decade in chief development officer posts for the Hockomock Area YMCA and then at the YMCA of Greater Providence, where he led successful $1 million annual fund campaigns and completed two capital campaigns totaling $5 million.